Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My America - 2009 in the 51st state...

In 2008 I was struck by the thought that much of the new music I really wanted actually needed to be imported (on vinyl or CD) from the US. That has continued unabated in 2009 but there is now a subtle change of emphasis. The two-way trade continues but now the bands are importing themselves, and I'm getting to hear them play live in the UK. I have no problem with it whatsoever and it is likely the result of a number of on-the face-of-it unrelated vectors. At the very end of 2008 I read an article that championed three New York bands, the by-line being that you should at least see one of them live in 2009.
Slightly before 2pm on 17th July some complete strangers, all several years younger than half of my age, loudly commented that they were now about to achieve this feat. I said nothing save "yeah, good band and strong songs on the album" (this was just before the band in question was on stage) and, possibly thinking I didn't know what was under discussion, they asked me really rather bluntly what I thought and, as I'd been eavesdropping in the inter regnum, they got it.

"Since you ask, I'm sorry to tell you that this is the last of the three for me." ('Telepathe' and 'School Of Seven Bells' being the others in question). I think I spoiled their ego-trip and, if sardonicism were a concept new to them, they have learnt about it now! After a few minutes of silent bravado they sidled away, crestfallen and unnoticed, which was how I got a front-row place to take this picture of 'Chairlift'.

On Saturday morning there was no sign of them when the band - that might now be regarded as the fourth in this category - was playing. I know that they were there, however, because I saw them leave, from near the back of the arena, at the end. They were clearly in no mood for a repeat of the previous day's meeting and were that a problem it was certainly not mine. I could hardly supress a wry smile!
I was exactly where I will be, if I am so minded, when 'Yes Giantess' were playing on the 'Sunset Arena' at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. They are now used to playing the most fashionable club venues in New York so you might think that ...

... perhaps a rather leaky, tented, stage in a Suffolk wood might just be anathema to them.

Well, no! The set was special, no doubt about it, even if the setting and context was slightly bizarre. The audience response was incredible, as witnessed by the fact that the band said as much without sounding remotely trite. Aside from my very slight, and it was no more than that, quibble almost everyone else that I met at Latidude was amazing. We might have talked total nonsense (and there is certainly no doubt about that): a paucity of peroration being very much the prevailing theme but so what does that matter?
I have plenty more Latitude 2009 highlights to mention and, if you don't know this already, pre-sales for Latitude 2010 go on sale on 1st September 2009.

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